Wishful Thinking, Biased Reporting Endanger Rifqa Bary

A new government case plan directs Rifqa Bary, the girl who fled from her family in fear for her life after converting to Christianity from Islam, to talk about religion with her Muslim parents. The case plan also works toward getting Rifqa to return home.

According to reporter Meredith Heagney of the Columbus Dispatch, who wore a hijab when she visited a Columbus mosque and has consistently filed slanted, anti-Rifqa stories on this case, the goal of this case plan is reunification of the Bary family. Ohio authorities would like to have Rifqa living back with her parents. They think that if Rifqa and her parents sit down and talk about their respective religions, with her parents explaining their Islamic faith and Rifqa explaining her Christianity, they hope this might lead to more understanding of some of the conflicts that led to this impasse in the first place.

This is classic wishful thinking. Why won't the court listen to expert testimony on Islamic law? There is no discussion with apostates in Islamic law. The apostate is ordered to return to Islam and is killed if he or she refuses. Mediation between Islam and Christianity? Tell it to Mecca.

And if these meetings do take place, the parents will say anything to get Rifqa back home. But in reality, the idea that a Christian apostate can practice her religion freely in a devout Muslim household is insane.

Judge Daniel Dawson in Florida had also recommended "mediation," despite opposition from the Barys' CAIR-appointed lawyer, Shayan Elahi. Elahi said there was no point to mediation, that there was nothing to be mediated. In this, Elahi was being honest. In Islam, there is no mediation. As the old saying goes, "Islam must dominate, and not be dominated." Still, Dawson insisted upon it, but as Elahi warned, nothing came of it.

Meanwhile, Heagney's report is striking as much for what it left out as for what she mentioned. Why doesn't the hijabed one talk about the fact that the few visitors allowed to see Rifqa at all must be fingerprinted? It seems to me that they are fingerprinting the one or two who visit Rifqa in order to criminalize them: in the event that Rifqa goes on the run again (rather than meet persecution at home if she is returned), anyone who had contact with her will be a suspect. Hence the fingerprints. If they exact Islamic justice and harm Rifqa, the Christians will be blamed (they'll say she ran away with their help). If she does run away, the Christians will be blamed, too. Clearly, authorities are making it very difficult for anyone to help her.

And what of all this secrecy? Clearly, this is not in the best interests of Rifqa. The only ones who seem to get access to all the unfolding events in this case are Rifqa's worst enemies in the media, like Heagney. Meredith Heagney should visit an Islamic republic, where she can experience firsthand all that she advocates for.

Hussein Wario, a native of Kenya and, like Rifqa, an apostate from Islam, tells the truth that Heagney ignores: "I am very concerned for Rifqa. If the judge reunites her with her family, you know that she will either be severely persecuted or killed here in the United States or elsewhere. An ardent Muslim father would rather kill his child in order to preserve his family from ridicule (from fellow Muslims) than see him or her alive. Mr. Mohamed Bary would be hailed as a hero to Muslims if he were to carry out -- God forbid -- Islamic judgment on Rifqa because she refuses to revert to Islam."

Rifqa's close friend and another convert from Islam to Christianity, Jamal Jivanjee, adds: "As Meredith Heagney is the main reporter assigned to the Rifqa Bary story, I have read several articles that Ms. Heagney has written about the case previously. Each time I read her account of Rifqa's situation, I come away amazed at her 'selective' use of pertinent information that she includes in her articles. I am beginning to wonder if this is more than just simple oversight. I am convinced that Meredith's oversight reveals at best a hidden bias against Rifqa Bary, and at worst a deliberate attempt to deceive the public in Central Ohio. This latest article was unfortunately no exception."

The media is against her. Child Services is against her. Her own family is against her -- and eagerly awaiting her return to their clutches.

Who will stand for Rifqa Bary?

Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs website and is former associate publisher of the New York Observer.
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